The government will toughen up measures: a state of emergency is likely to happen tomorrow, and restaurants will close at 10 p.m.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) will discuss stricter measures on Thursday afternoon due to the worsening epidemiological situation in the fight against COVID-19. A state of emergency is expected to be declared. Ministers are expected to vote on banning sporting, other events or closing bars and restaurants at 10 p.m. Restrictions on Christmas markets are also in play.

Due to the introduction of blanket measures, Prime Minister Babiš on Wednesday also admitted a new state of emergency. The government is expected to declare a state of emergency with almost immediate effect, probably by Friday, and soon afterward, the related measures will come into force.

As for the new measures, he said they would be a restriction of contact, not complete closure of the country. Major sporting and cultural events would be restricted. Bars and restaurants would also be closed after 10 p.m. The closure of Christmas markets is also on the table, but exceptions could be made for those held outdoors.

There is also talk of a push for the measures to take effect, preferably on Fridays. The number of new cases has been rising significantly since the beginning of November. On Wednesday, tests confirmed more than 18,000 positive cases, the most on any given working day since the epidemic began. Tuesday, nearly 26,000 cases was the highest daily count ever.

According to the latest figures, there are 5,886 people in hospitals with confirmed coronavirus infections. The number of seriously ill patients is closer to 850.

The maximum numbers this March were 9,500 hospitalized and 2,000 people in intensive care units. Experts say the current record numbers of infected people in hospitals will be broken in about two weeks.